Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.2 Corinthians 12:8(NASB)
Paul was afforded a unique role in the administration of the Christian Church, for not only was he the ONLY God-appointed apostle who did not accompany Christ throughout His earthly ministry... but he was also a murdering, hostile antagonist of the gospel of Christ at the time that the church was born - at Pentecost.
However, Saul of Tarsus was called to become Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. He wrote much of the holy Scriptures and was also entrusted with many mysteries which had been hidden from ages and generations. However, not only was he commissioned to open many of these revelations to the Church... but at one point prior to His missionary journeys, he was raptured into heaven and shown unspeakable things which he was not permitted to share.
Paul was afforded many spectacular privileges as God's apostle to the Gentiles... but he also had to face unprecedented difficulties, dangers, persecution, and problems - one of which was to be given a, "thorn in the flesh - a messenger from Satan," which God permitted in order to prevent him from becoming proudly puffed up with the enormous privileges he had received from the Lord.
Although some like to speculate what Paul's "messenger from Satan," might have been, we do not know what it was. However, we do know that concerning this enormous thorn, Paul implored the Lord thrice... that it might be taken away. Three times we discover that Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove this great impediment which caused him so much distress and vexation. However, God did not remove Paul's "messenger from Satan," but gave him His sufficient grace to bear it.
Paul is not the only Christian that has had to suffer much for the Lord Jesus Christ because of his Christian faith. Every one of us can cite things that have caused us deep distress and great vexation. Every believer will... at one time or another, go through a season of trials and tribulation, imploring the Lord to step in and remove whatever ails them.
Sometimes God will remove the painful thorn, but at other times he refuses this request. However, we may be sure that whether or not our problems are removed, God has purposed that all things - however grievous they may be - will work together for the good of those that love Him.
Indeed, we discover in the verses that follow, a promise that warms the heart of all who trust in the Lord and have been saved by grace through faith. God's promise to Paul and to ALL His children is, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.." and this is a promise that is as relevant today as it was on that day when Paul first heard these gracious words.
What a glorious promise of God to each one of us. How wonderful to know that His sufficient grace is freely available for everything we may face. What a joy to know that this promise is 'yes' and 'amen' in Christ Jesus our Lord. May we, like Paul, be able to respond with the same glorious answer, "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great goodness, and thank You that Your grace is sufficient to bring me through whatever difficulties, dangers, persecution, or pain I may be called upon to suffer. Thank You for the wonderful testimony and teachings of Paul and the truths that have become mine, by faith in Christ. May I finish the course You have prepared for me to do, and help me to be ready and willing to participate in the suffering of Christ to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.